What is a healthy diet before knee replacement surgery?

William A. Leone, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
A healthy diet before knee replacement surgery includes fruits, vegetables, lean protein, such as chicken or fish, and whole grains. Our bodies need the basic ingredients to build up our blood levels preoperatively and to heal tissues after surgery. This is just as important for hip replacement surgery.
Multiple studies have shown that the incidence of complications including infection and delayed healing is directly related to nutritional status. Many people who are remarkably over weight actually are malnourished. Therefore, optimizing the nutritional status pre-operatively is very important.

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Travis M. Hendry, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
Good nutrition gives your body the building blocks it needs to heal and prevent complications before knee replacement surgery. Poor nutrition slows healing and may lead to infections. So eat as well as you can both before and after surgery. Follow the guidelines below:
  • Eat well-balanced meals. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and protein. Eating well-balanced meals will help you feel your best and recover quickly.
  • Get plenty of protein. Eating enough protein is essential to help your body heal and fight infection after surgery. Try to eat at least two to three servings per day. Excellent sources of protein include: beef, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, dried beans, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, and protein drinks. Add protein to your diet wherever you can; mix dry milk powder into your regular milk, scrambled eggs, soups, and casseroles. Add ground meats to soups or casseroles. Nibble on nuts or cheese as a snack.
  • Include iron in your diet. Excellent sources of iron include: red meats, cream of wheat, enriched cereals and grains, and instant oatmeal. Ask your doctor if you should be taking an iron supplement.
  • Drink six to eight glasses of water each day.
  • Eat a little at a time. After surgery, you may not feel like eating much, but your body still needs extra energy and protein to start healing.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.